Internal meetings are an essential part of business culture, and thanks to their interactive, dynamic format, they can make it easy for team members to exchange information and work through potential roadblocks. But meetings are only effective when attendees are engaged, and ensuring that’s the case is no easy task — especially not on a Friday afternoon. Here’s how to ensure the next meeting you hold is your most productive yet:
The right crowd
Disruption and a lack of attention is often contagious, with people finding it easier to concentrate when those around them are doing the same. Shared behaviours are simply easier to psychologically adopt, and it only takes one person to start sneaking looks at their phone to disrupt your delivery.
For this reason, only invite people who absolutely need to be there. Instead of running the risk of losing the crowd, you stand every chance of building an atmosphere of interest and excitement.
It can be also beneficial to split up large teams and groups of people into smaller units to give everyone a chance to ask questions and adequately feedback and during the meeting.
Maximise your delivery window
During any meeting, focus is the most valuable commodity. Get the most out of your audience’s attention with a little planning and preparation work. Email an agenda to all the attendees a day or so before the meeting — too late and they will have no chance to absorb the information, too early and they will forget.
Then during the meeting keep the delivery short, targeted and energetic. If questions arise, politely put these off until you have finished making all your points. Reassure staff that their questions will be answered at the end of the session.
Try to weigh up the amount of information you have to deliver. After 35 to 40 minutes people’s concentration levels will drop rapidly. Consider breaking up longer meetings across two sessions.
Find the perfect moment
When is your audience most receptive? Study the energy levels of your team at various times of the day throughout the week. You will probably find periods of high activity and focus around mid-mornings and mid-afternoons.
These times are ideal for meetings, ensuring full engagement. Equally, during times such as after lunch, first thing on a Monday morning or later on a Friday afternoon, people will be tired and distracted.
Work out where the sweet spot is in your company’s timetable and schedule meetings in then.
Break up the speaking sections of your meeting with an interactive element, such as a multi-touch Interactive Flat Panel Display.
By introducing alternative mediums of communication, you’ll give team members a chance to use different parts of their brain, while encouraging movement. Activity revitalises and raises energy levels too, helping them retain a little more attention and focus.
Note it down
The advantage of this approach is that your team will fill in each other’s knowledge gaps. By reiterating and reinforcing key takeaways, knowledge retention will be bolstered in a proactive and supportive manner.
It’s also a great method for encouraging constructive debate, discussion and feedback between team members. This exercise is ideal when you are looking for a leap from knowledge into implementation.
A picture speaks a thousand words
When you have a considerable volume of information to convey during a meeting, consider using an Interactive Projector or Interactive Flat Panel Display to support your key messages and takeaways.
Data such as performance results or marketing statistics can be communicated more effectively using visuals than simply displaying text and numbers.
With the brain processing visual information some 60,000 times faster than words, visual representations of data will help you retain a pacey, energetic flow throughout your meeting.
Develop a qualitative understanding
Want to know how your meeting went down with your team members? Ask questions. Put it to them straight and find out whether or not they were interested in the discussion and have taken away the right messages.
Be prepared to hear some criticism that you might not like, but remember that this kind of comment is often your strongest ally. Understand areas for improvement will not only help define future sessions, but will also give you a chance to make rapid changes and quickly develop your leadership and communication skills to proficiency.
A final word
As with any process-based delivery of information, do not be afraid to play around with the variables to find out what gives you the optimum results. If you fail to achieve heart-and-mind-winning engagement, then use this as an opportunity to alter and refine your approach until your meetings become more collaborative, effective and engaging.